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Help me brainstorm Project Short Story 2013!

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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2096 comments Mod
So as I mentioned in episode #204, I want to do some sort of year-long Short Story project at BOTNS. Can you help me figure out what it should look like, and maybe what you'd like to see if you participate?

My original thought is to designate 1 story each month to be the official read-along. I'd like to make them all stories that are available to read free on the web. I think I have the first 2 chosen. If it's a story that is not free on the web but is in a book, then we'd announce it early enough in advance to allow people to check books out of the library.

We'll start a Folder here, and the discussions for each story will have their own threads.

What else would you like to see? I'm pretty determined to try and take away at least some of the reluctance people have to read short stories, or at least to determine why many people don't like them.


message 2: by Chris (last edited Nov 09, 2012 07:22AM) (new)

Chris | 180 comments Ann, I just got done listening and I think this is a great idea! I don't have any thoughts about this at the moment, but I look forward to seeing how this will work out, and I am excited to read along!


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Sorry! I started a thread about this podcast so this will be a repeat: I highly recommend the story "Odette Toulemonde" in Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's collection The Most Beautiful Book in the World: Eight Novellas
Frankly, my reluctance to read short stories only stems from the fact that they aren't publicized. We always hear about new novels, but short stories, not so much.


message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy | 463 comments My reluctance to read short stories comes from the fact that I rarely make a connection to characters that quickly. Novellas tend to be a better option for me in terms of shorter fiction.


message 5: by Callie (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 646 comments I know this would probably be time and cost prohibitive, but if you picked stories that are in the public domain, you could get EBM books made.

I don't seek out short stories, but I've found a few authors who've written ones I really enjoy, like Isaac Asimov and Shirley Jackson. I like creepy, eerie stories.


message 6: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2096 comments Mod
Can I redirect general comments about short stories to the thread that Suzanne started? here: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...

Let's keep this specifically for ideas about the challenge.

Thanks!


message 7: by Ryan (new)

Ryan (ryanludman) | 6 comments I think this is a brilliant idea. I love short stories and I don't think they get enough credit. I think often times short stories can push language and storytelling in new and different ways that novels can't and that's what makes them so exciting.

I would like to read a large variety of genres of short stories. I'd be interested to expand beyond the typical genres and see what other types of short stories are out there. Maybe it's just me but they seem to fall into distinct categories:

- Literary: "Nine Stories" by Salinger, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" by Carver, "Snows of Kilimanjaro" by Hemingway
- Science Fiction: "All Summer in a Day" by Bradbury, "The Cold Equations" by Tom Godwin
- Gothic/Macabre: Washington Irving, Edgar Allen Poe, "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacob, "The Lady or the Tiger" by Frank R. Stockton
- The Twist Ending: "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, "The Necklace" by Guy de Maupassant, "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry

One idea I thought of is maybe setting up a "bracket". (I hear sports people like brackets, so why not the bookish, too?) Maybe set up a bracket with one short story for each month. At some time, people can vote on which book they like best. January v. February, March v. April, then the winner of those two would be voted on. Or maybe they could be paired off by genre at first such as two sci-fi compete, and two tales of the macabre compete. Then the sci-fi would compete against the macabre. This would encourage everyone to read a lot of different stories, perhaps outside of their normal reading zone. At the end there would be declared a "winner" at the end of the year.

Also, I assume you wanted to stay away from non-fiction or essays. Though I really like some essays or non-fiction (like David Sedaris) I would prefer to just stick to fiction for this challenge.

Great idea!


message 8: by Callie (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 646 comments Oooo I like the idea of a bracket. I really like brackets.

(Now it's a weird word. Bracket bracket bracket.)


message 9: by Alison (new)

Alison Stegert (Ali_Stegs) | 2 comments Would it work to ask some of the short story publishers to suggest a few titles? They might see it as a way of promoting their collections and therefore be willing to offer a story for "free". Ann, you mentioned Glimmertrain in the podcast. I couldn't say whether they'd be interested in doing this, but I know if I read one of their featured stories as part of your project, I'd look them up and browse their titles and maybe order a volume or two.

Another thought is to assign a theme for each month of the year. You mentioned different genres, but how about a country or region? Russian short stories in March, Spanish in April, Persian in May, etc.. (Engish versions, of course)

It sounds like fun. I love short stories, but I don't read enough of them. Can't wait to see (hear) what you come up with.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Alison wrote: "Would it work to ask some of the short story publishers to suggest a few titles?"

I think asking publishers to put forward something would be an excellent idea! Shorts usually don't get the exposure and sales that full length novels do and, I'd bet that pubs would love to contribute! A short could help promote a collection or a longer work. A lot of mid-list authors, like Jonathan Maberry (zombie horror) often put up shorts on their web-sites. You might even be able to get some of your fave authors to pony up ;-)

Throwing another idea out there: Each month could be a theme (i.e. February = Romance; October = Mystery, etc.)


message 11: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 42 comments I'm really looking forward to the 'year of short stories.' For me personally I think it would be great if you can find the stories free on the web, but maybe every other month you can select an author that doesn't necessarily have a free story available online, but is a really great short story teller that you'd like to introduce us to. If you can give us some advanced notice this might afford people the chance to check the book out at the library if they prefer not to buy it.


message 12: by Lara (new)

Lara | 75 comments I think this is a great idea. I would like to avoid any stories though, that are over anthologized in high school English textbooks. Birds of America, by Lorrie Moore has some great, more modern stories. Kafka and Raymond Carver are good classic authors. The Salinger idea is good too.


message 13: by Linda (new)

Linda | 2427 comments Mod
I remember so many short stories that I loved as a kid (Gift of the Magi, The Most Dangerous Game, The Monkey's Paw...) I'd love to find some that I would get attached to.


message 14: by P. (new)

P.  Flaherty Pagan | 19 comments I am very excited about the idea! I love short stories. I strongly encourage you to include a Kate Braverman story. While she has her own struggles as a person, her stories stay etched in your memory.
Her story "Tall Tales from the Mekong Delta", gorgeous and disturbing, is free on her website: http://www.katebraverman.com/talltale...


Dioni (Bookie Mee) (dioni) | 12 comments I would love to see some Oscar Wilde stories :)


message 16: by Ann-Marie (new)

Ann-Marie (amsjob) Amy wrote: "My reluctance to read short stories comes from the fact that I rarely make a connection to characters that quickly. Novellas tend to be a better option for me in terms of shorter fiction."

I agree. I´ve always found it hard to read short stories - unless they are horror or sf stories. I guess it´s because they capture my interest even when short...


message 17: by Libby (new)

Libby (Libbyw) | 131 comments Eudora Welty, "The Petrified Man," Flannery O'Connor, "Good Country People," James Joyce, "The Sheik of Araby," Stephen King, "Everything's Eventual," Ernest Hemingway, "Hills Like White Elephants," and I second "Monkey's Paw."


message 18: by Libby (new)

Libby (Libbyw) | 131 comments Tim O'Brien, "The Things We Carried."


message 19: by Marlene (new)

Marlene | 6 comments I'm reading Someone Like You by Roald Dahl. Great suspenseful stories.


message 20: by Cindy (new)

Cindy C | 1 comments I'd highly recommend Lull: http://www.conjunctions.com/archives/... by Kelly Link (if you like Aimee Bender, you'll love Kelly Link).

Also any stories by Alice Munro or Lorrie Moore, both contemporary masters of the form in my opinion =).


message 21: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Railey | 165 comments "What We Talk About When We Talk about Love" is an excellent story. In my opinion, you can't experience short stories without reading Flannery O'Conner. She's magnificent. Also, Shirley Jackson is great. Another favorite of mine is Z.Z. Packer.

I took a short story class in college and we used the collected/textbook "The Art of the Short Story" by Wendy Martin. It's a wonderful collection of some amazing stories. I highly recommend it.


message 22: by Juliette (new)

Juliette | 44 comments Has anyone seen Melville House's Art of the Novella series? http://mhpbooks.com/merchandise/novel...
Quite a variety of short works. Would love to figure out a way to weave them into the Short Story Challenge for 2013..


message 23: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2096 comments Mod
Juliette wrote: "Has anyone seen Melville House's Art of the Novella series? http://mhpbooks.com/merchandise/novel...
Quite a variety of short works. Would love to figure out a way to weave them into the Short St..."


Hehe ... guess you haven't yet listened to this week's podcast :)


message 24: by Lesley (new)

Lesley Nase (lnasemoonspinner) | 4 comments How about picking a different genre for each month a kind of something for everyone series. I love short stories, it will be hard to choose with so many ideas. How about "Birds of a Lesser Paradise: Stories" by Megan Mayhew Bergman


message 25: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
I recommend "I Have No Mouth, But I Must Scream" by Harlan Ellison.


message 26: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2096 comments Mod
Eric, is that avail online, or in a collection?


message 27: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
It's a widely anthologized story. I have a pretty extensive collection of Ellison books, and I know of three that contain it: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison Alone Against Tomorrow Stories of Alienation in Speculative Fiction by Harlan Ellison, and The Essential Ellison A 50 Year Retrospective by Harlan Ellison.

Also:

The Hugo Winners Vol 1 and 2 1955-1972 by Isaac Asimov

You can also find a recording online of Ellison reading it aloud.


message 28: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
The thing about Ellison is, he's a very vocal opponent of online piracy and tracks down folks who try to give away his stuff for free, so he's hard to find online.


message 29: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2096 comments Mod
Eric, I meant online in a legit way -- many times single short stories are made available for free as a way to promote anthologies or collections. I know you know that, but just wanted to be clear. In no way do I ever condone piracy.


message 30: by Eric (new)

Eric | 1175 comments Mod
You know I know you know I know what you mean.


message 31: by Russell (new)

Russell | 37 comments Hi Ann - try Sweat by Zora Neal Hurston. I think it is online for free. She wrote one of my favorite novels "Their eyes were watching God", and this story is pretty darn good as well.


message 32: by Juliette (new)

Juliette | 44 comments whoops. Now that actually listened to this weeks podcast...I can say Meville House novella....great idea (whaa whaa pedal)


message 33: by Ryan (new)

Ryan (ryanludman) | 6 comments Kelly Link (kellylink.com) has stories for free and two free collections: "Magic for Beginners" and "Stranger Things Happen".


message 34: by Robin (new)

Robin (mcrobusaolcom) | 222 comments Nathanial Hawthorne "Twice Told Tales". Available online.


message 35: by Linda (new)

Linda | 2427 comments Mod
Gabriel Garcia Marquez's A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings is online. I had to read it for a function today. Would love a discussion on it.


message 36: by Lara (new)

Lara | 75 comments I LOVE that story!!


message 37: by Jana (new)

Jana (Jazziegirl2010) | 309 comments Ryan's bracket idea sounds great.
Whatever comes about, I'm excited to read short stories in 2013 with y'all. [I never say y'all when I speak, but since visiting Oxford, I've found it very useful to type!]


message 38: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2096 comments Mod
My only worry with the bracket thing is that the Tournament of Books at the Millions does it every year with books. I know stories are different. Plus, I really hate putting things I like against each other. It's why I don't like wine flights -- there's always a loser no matter how wonderful the 3rd place wine is. I'm still thinking.


message 39: by Callie (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 646 comments I'd like to throw in the Nebula and Hugo winner this year, The Paper Menagerie. I thought it was amazing.

http://escapepod.org/2012/05/17/ep345...


message 40: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2096 comments Mod
Callie, shhhhh....


message 41: by Jana (new)

Jana (Jazziegirl2010) | 309 comments Variation on the themes mentioned above: you could pick one story from an author's collection per month and overachievers could read the entire book.


message 42: by Jay (new)

Jay Bullman I don't know that I have read any short stories other than what has been assigned when I was in high school and college and the occasional magazine. I guess it just never occurs to me to pick up a collection. I would love to try a monthly short story read along/discussion. Then I don't feel I have to add a pile of books to my reading unless a particular story intrigues me to want to read more from an author. I can't wait to hear what is decided.


message 43: by Ellen (new)

Ellen B I liked this idea right away when I heard the podcast. I would also say that the "widely anthologized" stories from high school should be out—for me they were The Necklace, The Gift of the Magi, The Lottery, Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl. I think I read each of these at least twice, both in discussions of irony. :)


message 44: by Kate (new)

Kate (kisigler) | 4 comments I love short stories. I'm reading Alice Munro's newest collection right now. She's wonderful and several of her stories are available for free on the New Yorker website. I've also recently enjoyed collections by Dan Chaon, Nathan Englander and Etgar Keret. Englander and Keret also have freely available stories on the New Yorker site (and possibly elsewhere). Not sure about Chaon.

Also, I found this very cool podcast, Selected Shorts, of short stories being read aloud live onstage in New York. It might be fun to try to read some stories that we can also listen to.


message 45: by Kate (new)

Kate | 269 comments I have been lurking here as my first impulse is "I hate short stories!". But as I have read everyone's posts, I realize I like certain types, mostly detective or mystery short stories and dislike fantasy. I tried to read Diving Belles: And Other Stories with Gavin and Simon of The Readers and while they both loved this book, I gave up after the third story. Her writing is beautiful, but it was a little too fantastic for me. But I thoroughly enjoy Edgar Allen Poe and other mystery stories, so I am willing to try to read along. I can be pushed out of my comfort zone and will try to keep an open mind.


message 46: by Katie (new)

Katie | 91 comments I'm excited about this idea, too. I tend to like full length novels because I can sink in and enjoy them for a substantial amount of time. Short stories have always seemed, well, for want of another word....too short! I know I need to give them more of a chance and this is a perfect way. For senior English in high school, my younger son took a course in short stories...both reading and writing them. He came to appreciate and really like the format. Now it's my turn!


message 47: by Esther (new)

Esther (eshchory) Kate wrote: "I love short stories. I'm reading Alice Munro's newest collection right now. She's wonderful and several of her stories are available for free on the New Yorker website. I've also recently enjoyed ..."

Thanks for the like to the New Yorker. I'd forgotten how much I liked their short stories and I have just finished reading, and enjoying, the one by Etgar Keret.


message 48: by Amy (new)

Amy | 463 comments Kate wrote: " I realize I like certain types, mostly detective or mystery short stories and dislike fantasy... But I thoroughly enjoy Edgar Allen Poe and other mystery stories, so I am willing to try to read along... "

This sounds so much like myself in regards to short stories!


message 49: by Susan from MD (new)

Susan from MD For me, it's also about picking the right time to read a short story. If I'm curling up for an evening of reading, a short story might not be the best option, but as a commuter I like having a shorter option to read on the way to and from work.


message 50: by Libby (new)

Libby (Libbyw) | 131 comments I like to read a short story with my lunch.


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